Saturday, June 17, 2017

Education Dept. Says It Will Scale Back Civil Rights Investigations - The New York Times

Education Dept. Says It Will Scale Back Civil Rights Investigations - The New York Times:

Education Dept. Says It Will Scale Back Civil Rights Investigations



WASHINGTON — The Department of Education is scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation’s public schools and universities, easing off mandates imposed by the Obama administration that the new leadership says have bogged down the agency.
According to an internal memo issued by Candice E. Jackson, the acting head of the department’s office for civil rights, requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back. Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.
The new directives are the first steps taken under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to reshape her agency’s approach to civil rights enforcement, which was bolstered while President Barack Obama was in office. The efforts during Mr. Obama’s administration resulted in far-reaching investigations and resolutions that required schools and colleges to overhaul policies addressing a number of civil rights concerns.
That approach sent complaints soaring, and the civil rights office found itself understaffed and struggling to meet the department’s stated goal of closing cases within 180 days.The office’s processing times have “skyrocketed,” the Education Department spokeswoman, Liz Hill, said, adding that its backlog of cases has “exploded.” The new guidelines were to ensure that “every individual complainant gets the care and attention they deserve,” she said.
In the memo, which was first published by ProPublica, Ms. Jackson emphasized that the new protocols were aimed at resolving cases quickly.
“Justice delayed is justice denied, and justice for many complainants has Education Dept. Says It Will Scale Back Civil Rights Investigations - The New York Times:
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